There’s a lot to be said for being a good coworker, but it’s important to remember that it’s not just about saying hello when you come into the office each day. Being a good coworker takes effort and can be considered an art form in some ways. As the workplace becomes increasingly social, coworker relationships play an important role in building a productive workplace.
Here are five ways that you can be a better coworker that will most likely lead to a more enjoyable workplace experience on all levels.
#1 Really get to know the new guy/gal
When somebody new joins the team it’s not enough to just go up and introduce yourself, but rather help them integrate on a daily basis. This could mean going out for a coffee or lunch and getting to know one another a bit better. Not only beneficial on a personal level, but also professionally as you can get to know one another’s professional strengths and find ways to support each other in the workplace.
#2 Follow through
It’s very common that we want to make the effort to connect with out coworkers, and it’s even more common that we find ourselves too busy to actually do so. Over time, making plans that are consistently broken can result in disappointment and a breakdown in trust. To make sure you are taking your workplace relationships seriously, set aside a bit of time during the week where you know you will be able to give your undivided attention that won’t be interrupted by meetings or phone calls.
#3 Show gratitude
Showing gratitude is really important in all aspects of life. In the workplace, it’s an essential part of building trust and boosting productivity. When a coworker helps you out with a project, whether it’s simply offering advice or working alongside you, make sure you show gratitude. This could mean offering to help them with any upcoming projects, or treating them to a coffee to show your appreciation.
#4 Invest in spending time together
While coworkers can independently make time to spend together, managers and leaders can also contribute by offering teams an opportunity to dedicate a day - or more - to socialising and connecting. An effective way to do this is to attend events together in a local coworking space, or book a coliving retreat that will benefit the whole team.
#5 Respect boundaries
You may think that boundaries might simply mean not invading someone’s personal space, but it can be much more than that. You need to be aware of what works for them if you are going to have both a pleasant and professional relationship in the workspace. This can mean a variety of things, such as not talking too loudly or making sure not to interrupt them when they are working. It could also mean initiating conversation. Start your relationship off slowly and use your intuition to see what works best for your coworkers and you.
At the end of the day, building relationships with coworkers takes practice and patience. It means being open to different personalities and needs and it also means being open with yourself so you can adapt and grow as things change. By taking these simple steps to becoming a better coworker you are not only making sure you build trust amongst colleagues, but you are also creating space for a productive professional relationship.
Michael Volkmann is an entrepreneur with a focus on business operations and finance. He has worked with many small businesses helping them with their M&A for over six years.